"Dragonfly Dreams"

Coming soon

Liu family, 1945, Tientsin, China. Taken by Pvt. Giles Brooks.

Dragonfly Dreams

Dragonfly Dreams is based on the Liu’s family experience during World War II in China under the Japanese occupation.

Ju Lan (nicknamed Nini), the oldest child, was photographed with her family by an American GI who found them at the war’s end. Her Chinese father had refused to cooperate with the Japanese. Her American mother barely escaped being sent to an internment camp for foreigners. Like Anne Frank, Nini (age 10-13) narrates the story of her family’s ability to survive the ordeal.

From this photo and a letter to her American cousin after the war, I began to imagine this story from Ju Lan’s perspective. View letter here.

Historical fiction, Dragonfly Dreams is complete at 45,000 words. I am currently looking for a publisher who will get this story in the hands of readers all over the world. Like To Kill a Mockingbird, Dragonfly Dreams will appeal to both young readers and adults not only because of the courageous young heroine but also because of the revelations of injustice in a history we know little about.

Nini is about to celebrate her 10th birthday when Pearl Harbor happens. Early that morning she watches as Japanese troops march down the street in front of her family’s apartment, ending the only way of life she has ever known. Later she goes with her mother who is forced to register as an “enemy alien.” When Nini observes the British and American families being loaded onto buses and taken away, she tells her father. Without waiting to find out where the foreigners are being taken, her father plunges the family into hiding.

Because she is mixed race, Nini can pass as Chinese and go places her parents can’t go. But there is one thing she can’t do—and that is to continue her friendship with her Japanese friend Chiyoko. Desperate to stay in touch, she and Chiyoko devise a clever plan to leave messages for each other in a secret hiding place. Her friendship with Chiyoko saves the family when her little sister is ill with typhoid. Nini crosses the war-torn city alone to find her friend and get the help they need.

Four years after the war began, alone in an open field, Nini sees American planes flying overhead. She knows the long war has come to an end at last and runs home to tell her family.

Photos of Grace, Nini & family.